By: Gemma Mastroianni
Toronto based artist Alex Southey released his debut album titled, "You're Not Just a Body To Me" today.
This emotional collection of music is an alternative folk album that utilizes singular vocals, soft strings, and atmospheric tones. It is based on the concept of growing pains, overworking one's self and experiencing burnout, mental illness, and devoting yourself within a relationship. The album title is directed at listeners to send a reminder that no matter what you are struggling with, to not lose your sense of self. When struggling with any form of stress or mental health, it can be easy to fall into that.
"Running Into the Water, Nelson B.C" adds to the emotional beginning featuring piano, violin, and some soft vocals. It definitely gave me some Sufjan Stevens vibes with its vocal pace, and the raw emotional aspects to this track. I also can't help but notice the inspiration of Bon Iver for this track, with naming the place like so.
Next is "Angel at the Bed" which is absolutely stunning which some powerful brass and passionate vocals. It does end a bit suddenly though. I would have preferred to hear the brass and guitar continue with a fadeout.
"And This Too Shall Pass" is a beautiful track giving us all a reminder that everything is temporary. I really enjoy the intro into "Leaving The Place." as you hear a slight laugh and someone packing up, leading into some soft guitar tones.
Production is generally pretty great on this album. I think instrumentals could have been ever so slightly turned up at times, but the quieter tones also feed into the intimate and calming vibe of the album - so it all depends on the listener's preference.
Southey's vocals are absolutely stunning. He can pull off singing quiet and softly, similar to Bahamas or Sufjan Stevens, but can also belt beautifully (which I never hear those artists do), which you can witness on "Leaving The Place."I find many artists tend to stick to one or the other, so his versatility is very impressive.
"A Song We Can Slow Dance To" is beautifully romantic and is most definitely true to its title. It starts out fairly quiet and then picks up slightly throughout in tone, with so many stunning undertones. Layering was done flawlessly on this track. It flows into "The Inside of My Head When I Think of University in Vancouver" where he goes into singing about heartbreak ever so slightly, with a quick change of tone. I enjoyed this quick change as it's relateable. In life, things can be so perfect and change to the complete opposite so quickly - the quick transition brings on a whirlwind of emotions, as it does going in between these tracks.
"The Fall Positive" is faster paced but features some beautiful brass components underneath some soft strumming- I really enjoy the pace in this one.
This collection of music appears to be a very personal and intimate album to Southey, and it's fantastic. It's filled with high's and low's that many of us can relate to, especially those of who have experienced heartbreak, depression, anxiety, etc. I think this album is perfect for lounging and relaxing after a long day or even to put on in the background while having dinner with a loved one. It's delicate, calm, and intimate.
Today, Alex Southey begins the #DayLikeItsNightTour, in support of the album and mental health research.